Garmin 735xt vs 920xt: Comparing the Best of Garmin’s Forerunner Range


Garmin 735xt vs 920xt

When shopping around for a running watch, it is important to choose a model that suits your training and lifestyle needs. Whether you are a runner, swimmer, cyclist, or triathlete, you need a watch whose performance matches your own. But how do you decide which one to get?

The Garmin Forerunner 735xt and the 920xt both boast a wide range of useful features to optimize your performance.

But which of the two should you choose to up your fitness game?

We tested out both models across a variety of activities to decide once and for all - Garmin 735xt vs 920xt: which watch is better?

Feature

Garmin Forerunner 735xt

Garmin Forerunner 920xt

GPS/Live Tracking

Yes

Yes

Bluetooth

Yes

Yes

Smart Notifications

Yes

Yes

Heart Rate Monitor

Yes

Yes

VO2 Max

Yes

Yes

Barometric Altimeter

No

Yes

Phone Music Control

Yes

No

Battery Life

Up to 24 hours (with GPS turned on)

Up to 40 hours (with GPS turned on)

Built-in Activities

running, cycling, swimming, multisport, hiking, skiing, strength training, paddle sports, cardio exercise

Running, cycling, swimming, multisport

Waterproofing

Yes (up to 50m depth)

Yes (up to 50m depth)

Quick-release Chest Strap

No

Yes

Range of Features

The Garmin 735xt and 920xt are pretty similar in terms of which features they offer. Both have GPS, Bluetooth, activity tracking, and heart rate and VO2 monitors built in.

One main difference, however, is that the newer 735xt model comes with a wrist-based heart monitor, rather than a chest strap. This is more convenient and felt less restrictive than working out while wearing the chest strap, especially when running.

What's more, the 735xt has a wider range of built-in activities. With sports like weight training and skiing included alongside the running, cycling, swimming, and multisport features offered by both watches, the 735xt is the more versatile model. This is perfect for athletes with a wide range of fitness interests, and people hoping to try out new sports.

In terms of activity tracking, the 920xt is slightly better than the 735xt. This is thanks to its built-in barometric altimeter, which more accurately monitors exercise at altitude. This may make the 735xt an attractive choice for cross-country runners.

Overall, we prefer the 735xt, for its wider range of built-in activities, and for doing away with the cumbersome chest strap.

Winner: Garmin Forerunner 735xt

Style and Wearability

The aesthetics of your watch can be as important as its functionality, depending on when, where, and for how long you plan to wear it. So which looks better, the Garmin 735xt, or the 920xt?

Of course, style is a matter of personal taste, but as far as the Garmin 735xt and 920xt go we had a clear favorite.

The 735xt has a clean, minimalist look, with a black and gray design that can be worn wherever, whenever. The 920xt, on the other hand, features brightly colored borders that, while fun, didn’t pair well with our work clothes.

The 920xt is also quite a bit heavier than the sleek 735xt, weighing in at 61 grams compared to the 735’s 40.2 grams. We found the added weight and the chunkier feel of the 920xt made it less comfortable to wear for extended periods of time.

In terms of versatility and wearability, we’d have to pick the design of the Garmin 735xt, as this model is best for all day use.

WinnerGarmin Forerunner 735xt

Usability

As mentioned earlier, the Garmin 735xt is way smaller and lighter than the Garmin 920xt. You might expect this to result in a more fiddly and difficult to use touchscreen, but you’d be wrong!

The screen of the 735xt is actually slightly bigger than that of the 920xt, owing to it's slimmer frame.

We found that both screens were responsive, convenient to use, and easy to read. The only notable difference between these two models was the strength of the backlight. This is much brighter on the Garmin 920xt; in fact, the 735xt looked dull by comparison.

It’s a close call, but the more brightly lit screen of the Garmin 920xt swung this one for us. It was clearer to read in sunlight, and the touchscreen is big enough for easy use (even with sweaty fingers!)

WinnerGarmin Forerunner 920xt

Battery Life

Although the battery life of both models is decent, the 920xt far surpasses the 735xt. With 40 hours of functionality in GPS mode compared with the 735xt’s 24, the Garmin 920xt’s battery life could serve you for weeks between charges.

What’s more, when worn as a regular watch, the 920xt can keep ticking for up to four months. The 735xt, however, fizzles out after only 11 days.

There’s no competition here; the Garmin 920xt wins this section hands down.

WinnerGarmin Forerunner 920xt

Connectivity

Both watches are equipped with Bluetooth, and connected seamlessly with all of our smart devices. We were able to receive all Smart notifications (messages, e-mail etc) via both watches, so staying connected on the go was easy.

It’s a tough call, but we still need a winner! So which is better for connectivity; the Garmin 735xt, or the 920xt?

The only difference, as far as we could see, in the watches is the lack of WiFi capability in the 735xt. Data transfer was much faster when performed over WiFi rather than Bluetooth, which is doable with the 920xt, but not the 735xt.

WinnerGarmin Forerunner 920xt

Performance

The key question when buying any fitness aid is, of course: how well does it work?

To answer this question, we compared the functionality of the Garmin 735xt and 920xt across their four core functions; running, swimming, cycling, and multisport.

Best for Swimming: It’s a tie!

The Garmin Forerunner 735xt and 920xt have similar capabilities in swimming mode. Both feature pool swimming and open water settings, stroke identification, swim workouts, and underwater heart rate monitoring. Both models are also waterproof up to depths of 50 meters. In our opinion, they performed equally well in terms of accuracy and function!

Best for Running: Garmin Forerunner 920xt

If you are planning to run only on flat terrain, there is not much difference between these two watches. However, the barometric altimeter featured by the 920xt produces far more accurate metrics when running cross-country, or at altitude. The live activity tracking of the 920xt is also more accurate, thanks to this same feature.

Best for Cycling: Garmin Forerunner 920xt

Again, both watches had similar features in cycling mode, with both accurately tracking our speed, route, and distance. However, the 920xt includes a quick release strap that will make all the difference to triathletes!

Best for Multisports: Garmin Forerunner 920xt

This one’s a no-brainer when you take the barometric altimeter into account. This allows for more accurate activity tracking when exercising at altitude, for example when skiing or hiking.

Garmin 735xt vs. 920xt: The Winner is…

The Garmin Forerunner 920xt!

Although both watches have a lot to offer any athlete, we preferred the more comprehensive range of features offered by the 920xt.

Both models accurately tracked our activity across a range of sports, giving detailed metrics that are sure to help you improve your performance.

Despite the more lightweight, understated design of the 735xt, the functionality of the 920xt is unbeatable.

The barometric altimeter allows for more accurate activity tracking across a wider range of sports. For triathletes, the quick-release chest strap is a must-have, saving precious seconds during a competition.

The longer battery life of the 920xt is another attractive feature for fitness enthusiasts. This can withstand even the most grueling of training sessions, triathlons, or marathons.

The Garmin Forerunner 735xt is an excellent, comprehensive multisport watch ideal for a first purchase. However, for serious athletes there really is no competition - the best multisport watch to buy is the Garmin Forerunner 920xt!

About the Author

Enrepreneur. I build websites all around the world an I run everyday. I just can't live without my daily running. Follow me on Twitter for more informations.

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